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Polis’ Computer Science Legislation Helps Students Prepare for the IT Jobs of the Future

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Washington, July 29, 2010 | comments
Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), an internet entrepreneur and former Chairman of the Colorado Board of Education, introduced H.R. 5929 – the Computer Science Education Act – that would expand access to high-quality computer science education for all students.  

“In a world dominated by Facebook and ipods, every child stands to benefit from a rigorous computer science education,” said Polis.  “Quality K-12 computer science education is crucial to America’s competitiveness in the 21st Century, yet too few students have the opportunity to take engaging and rigorous computer science courses, and there is little diversity among those who do.  This legislation will help ensure that American students not only use technology, but also learn the technical computing skills needed to grow our economy and invent the technology of the future.”   

According to numerous reports, the U.S. educational pipeline is expected to fall far short in producing college graduates for jobs in computer science, which is expected to represent the largest growth area across the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), fields between now and 2018.  Low-income, women and minority students are severely under-enrolled in computer science courses and programs, both at the secondary and postsecondary levels, and consequently in the related professions.

“The mismatch between jobs and skills is alarming across the country,” said Polis.  “In my district, for example, more than 2,500 computing job openings are projected annually, but only 10 students say they intend to major in computer science and only 34 students took the Advance Placement computer science exam.  Unless we get more kids interested in computer science degrees and careers, we’ll continue to lose our edge in global competitiveness.”

To spark growth and interest in Computer Science Education, Polis’ legislation would support:
  • Planning grants for states to work with stakeholder to assess their computer science offerings in K-12 and develop concrete steps to make them stronger.
  • Implementation grants for states, in partnership with local school districts and institutions of higher education to carry out state plans by: developing state computer science standards, curriculum, and assessments; improving access to underserved populations; developing professional development and teacher certification programs; developing on-line courses; and, ensuring computer science offerings are an integral part of the curriculum
  • A blue-ribbon commission to review the national state of computer science education and bring states together to address the computer science teacher certification crisis.
  • Computer science teacher preparation programs in higher education.
  • An independent, rigorous evaluation of state programs funded under this Act with reporting back to Congress and the Administration.
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